Western Price Survey
September 4, 2015
Power demand on the Cal-ISO grid reached a year-to-date instantaneous peak high of 47,196 MW Aug. 28. The grid operator said it was the highest demand since 2010 -- which was 47,350 MW, recorded Aug. 25 -- and the fourth-highest demand level since 1998.
Demand may have room to go even higher.
"We still have a couple of weeks before we can say hot temps are behind us," said Steven Greenlee, Cal-ISO senior public information officer.
The grid operator also reported a new instantaneous solar peak-production record of 6,466 MW Sept. 3, which surpassed the previous record of 6,446 MW recorded Aug. 21. Total renewable-energy produc-tion on the Cal-ISO grid peaked at 10,047 MW Aug. 30.
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Despite the rise in peak demand, power prices were tame over the Aug. 28 to Sept. 4 trading period. Mid-Columbia posted the largest gain, adding $2.15 to reach $29.45/MWh by Sept. 4, while Palo Verde fell $4.30 to $29.35/MWh. At the end of the trading week, average daytime prices ranged from $29.35/MWh at Palo Verde to $38.60/MWh at North of Path 15.
For off-peak electricity, prices at the end of the trading week ranged from $23.35/MWh at Palo Verde to $24.45 at the California-Oregon Border.
Meanwhile, working gas in storage reached 3,193 Bcf as of Aug. 28, according to Energy Infor-mation Administration estimates, a net increase of 94 Bcf from the previous week. Storage levels are now 18.3 percent greater than a year ago and 4 per-cent greater than the five-year average.
Henry Hub gas spot values eroded 2 cents in Thursday-to-Thursday trading, ending at $2.67/MMBtu on Sept. 3. In the West, Southern California Border lost 9 cents to $2.68/MMBtu. Alberta natural gas ended even a second week (see table).
Western natural gas prices were roughly a dollar less on average in August 2015 compared to the same period last year. At PG&E CityGate, for instance, the high end of the average range in August was $3.32/MMBtu; in 2014, it was $4.56/MMBtu.
Western power prices during August 2015 were also significantly lower, on average, than last year. Prices were between $6.40 and $15.45 less compared to 2014. This included COB, which posted a high average price of $51.75/MWh compared to $67.20/MWh in 2014 [Linda Dailey Paulson].
Archives of the Western Price Survey for the past year are also available online.
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